The Negative Effects of Social Networks

The Negative Effects of Social Networks
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     Are social networks detrimental to children and teenagers' well-being? In the past few years, social networks have become more and more popular. More people join social networks every single day,  and social networking doesn’t seem to be something that is a passing trend. The Nielsen Company has even reported that “people in the U.S. continue to spend more time on social networking and blog sites as well, with total minutes increasing 210% year-over-year and the average time per person increasing 143% year-over-year in December 2009” (Nielsen 1). People are spending more time on social networks than ever before. While social networks have negative effects on everyone, teenagers and children are especially stunted by them. Social networks are detrimental to children because communications skills are affected, users can become addicted to these sites, and cyber bullying is prevalent.

Communication Skills 
    Parents shouldn’t allow their children to use social networks because communication development is crucial for children and teenagers, and social networks impair communication skills. According to, “a bit more than a third (37%) of social network-using teens said they sent messages to friends every day through the social sites, a drop from the 42% of such teens who said they did so in February of 2008” (Pew). Face to face communication among children and teenagers is being squashed out by social networks. A phone call isn’t used to get in touch with someone anymore, Facebook and Twitter are the main tools of communication. The consequences of this are social awkwardness and even social anxiety when confronted with new people to meet in person. A study was done by among teenagers on social networks, and the amount of communication among teenagers on social networks, and the amount of communication by social network has remained steady.
Teen activities on SNS
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“Sending instant messages or text messages to friends through a social network site has remained stable, with 58% of social networking teens saying they sent texts or IMs” (Pew). This means that more than half of teens are using social networks to get and stay in touch with their friends. Face to face communication is lessened, because social networks provide quicker and easier ways to talk with someone. This is not good because face to face communication skills are needed later in life. A job interview won’t be over Facebook chat, an applicant  must go in for an interview and actually communicate with the employers. Social networks don’t allow children  and teenagers to develop the communication skills that they will need for situations later in life.
Social Network Addiction
     Children and teenagers can spend so much time on the internet and social networks that they can become addicted to those sites. When a student wants to procrastinate homework or studying, they turn to the internet for a source of entertainment. Priorities like schoolwork and homework are pushed to lower priorities because of the internet. Children and teenagers spend so much time on social networks and the internet that they start to become addicted. CBS News did a test on college students, and cut them off from the internet for a few days.
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“When asked how they felt during the brief disconnection, students’ descriptions of frantic cravings, anxiety and jitters mirrored those typical of people going through withdrawal from drugs or alcohol” (CBS 1). Social networks are big time wasters because the user is constantly being shown new information in the form of pictures and statuses. There is even a feeling of competition among social network users. In CBS News’ study students mentioned that “on Web sites like Facebook and MySpace, users can instantly see what their friends online are doing and can keep them updated on their every move” (CBS 1). Depression and anxiety can even start if a user is constantly comparing their life to their Facebook friends. The constant flow of information is just another source of stress to every social network user.
Cyber Bullying
    Cyber bullying is especially popular on social networks, and allowing children to go on these sites exposes them to this. defines cyber bullying as, “willful and repeated harm (i.e., harassing, humiliating, or threatening text or images) inflicted through the Internet, interactive technologies, or mobile phones” (Internet Safety).
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According to the National Crime Prevention Council, “Forty-three percent of teens have been victims of cyber bullying in the last year” (NCPC 1). Cyber bullying is an extremely serious subject. The bully can constantly get in touch with a victim. Cyber bullying is so serious because “victimization on the Internet through cyber bullying is increasing in frequency and scope. Electronic bullies can remain “virtually” anonymous” (Internet Safety). Many teens go to extremes to escape cyber bullying, even resorting to suicide as a way out. Parents of teenagers and children need to be wary of cyber bullying. Katie Greer of warns of a couple warning signs parents can look out for, “Mood shifts after being online can be a good indicator that your child is being cyberbullied.  Keeping an open dialogue, teaching positive online behavior and checking in on your child’s social networking behavior are important” (Greer 1).
     Social networks like Facebook and Twitter cause various problems in our society. Face to face communication has lessened in recent years, because you can just tweet or write on your friend’s walls. Social networks are also addictive, people spend so much time on them that they aren’t accomplishing what they should actually be doing. Every single day more and more people join social networks and begin to experience the negative effects of these sites. Social networks are detrimental to teenagers and children because communications skills are affected, users can become addicted to these sites, and cyber bullying is prevalent.
Works Cited

Conger, Cristen. "Is Online Social Networking Good or Bad?" Discovery News. 28 Apr. 2010. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. <>. 
Greer, Katie. "Social Networking and Cyberbullying: You Can Keep Your Kids Safe" Stay Safe Online. 3 June 2011. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. <>.
" Dangers." 2009. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. <>.
Jarvis, Tim. "Negative Impact of Social Networking Websites at Work" Oprah Winfrey's Official Website - Oct. 2009. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. <>.
"Led by Facebook, Twitter, Global Time Spent on Social Media Sites up 82% Year over Year  Nielsen Wire." 22 Jan. 2010. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. <>.
National Crime Prevention Council. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. <>.
"Social Networking: An Internet Addiction? - CBS News." Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News - CBS News. 11 Feb. 2009. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. <>.
"Teens and Social Network Communication Practices Pew Internet & American Life Project." Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. 3 Feb. 2010. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. <>.